Experimental cancer treatments for advanced stages are more effective than previously thought. Some oncology practitioners believe that experimental drugs are harmful - they give false hope to patients because of its low efficiency (long anticipated effectiveness of the experimental treatment with special drugs produced in Canadian pharmacy only at the level of 4-6% of cases). Patients in the final stage of the disease should have greater access to information about the experimental treatment programs, and, accordingly, they and their families should have the right to know what their real chances, with a particular treatment strategy. Scientists believe that the involvement of cancer patients even in the early stages of clinical trials can be very useful for them. Besides, the search for a way out of the situation means continuing the fight against the disease. It is characterized by academic phrase "treatment of metastatic cancer still remains palliative, with a very low probability of complete remission and cure the disease."

Merkel cell carcinoma

MCC occurs predominantly in the elderly light-skinned population. It is most commonly located on sun-exposed areas of the skin with approximately 50% of cases occurring on the head and neck, 40% on the extremities and 10% on the trunk and genitalia. The tumor typically presents as a non-tender subcutaneous mass, most often nodular but also with a plaque-like appearance, sometimes surrounded by satellite lesions. The color of MCCs varies from flesh-colored to red to lilaceous. The clinical features most commonly associated with primary MCC tumors have been summarized using the acronym ‘‘AEIOU’’: asymptomatic or non-tender; expanding rapidly; immune suppressed; older than 50 years; and ultraviolet-exposed fair skin (6).

Epidemiologic data suggests that there are approximately 2500 new MCC cases per year within the EU; approximately 1000 of these patients will die from their disease. The incidence of MCC is considerably increasing: The reported incidence has more than tripled over the past 20 years (2). This increase can partially be explained by the demographic development since MCC usually affects the elderly; the median age at diagnosis is 70 years, and there is a 5- to 10-fold increase in incidence after age 70 as compared with an age less than 60 years (7). Thus, it is likely that in an ageing European population the impact of this deadly cancer will continue to increase.

Clinical appearance and epidemiology of MCC. (A, B) Primary tumors; (C) locoregional metastasis, adapted from: (7)